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So Many Insane Plays: Mirrodin Besieged Set Review

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I. Introduction

Welcome loyal reader! In this article I continue my long tradition of reviewing new sets for Vintage format (the greatest format!) applications. As always, I will also provide a checklist of cards from Mirrodin Besieged that you will want to acquire to complete your collection and enable you to play any deck in the format. This checklist will give you a heads up over the competition and allow you to make better trades. I will tell you which cards you should pick up now, which cards you should wait to pick up (because I expect them to fall in price), and which cards will be the sleepers you can make a killing on. In addition, I continue my tradition of updating the “Complete Vintage Checklist,” a checklist of cards that features every single playable in the Vintage format for dealers, traders and players alike.

While continuing those traditions, this set review marks a major change in my approach. In the past, I have selected for review only those cards that I perceived to be either clearly Vintage playable, borderline Vintage playable, or were otherwise mentioned or discussed by others in the Vintage context. In this article, I review every single card in the set. I do so for a number of reasons.

First of all, while my previous approach has proven successful, there have been a few times where I have overlooked, underestimated or failed to mention cards that later became Vintage staples or otherwise saw Vintage play. The two critical examples of this in the last five years are Empty the Warrens and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I dismissed the former and did not mention the latter. By reviewing every single card, I avoided such omissions, even if my conclusions turn out to be wrong. Second, by forcing myself to analyze every card for Vintage playability, I reduced the chance that I inadvertently dismiss a card based on existing standards of playability. Direct comparisons to existing cards are inadequate because small differences can make a big difference. It is rare that a card is strictly inferior to another, and minor advantages can make a big difference in the Vintage context.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, by reviewing every single card, I am compelled to explicitly confront and describe the boundaries of Vintage playability, to explore the range and mixture of functions that matter in Vintage, and to more directly compare new cards with pre-existing cards in terms of utility and efficiency. This process of trying to draw a line between playability and unplayability and of more explicitly identifying functions that matter in this format, and trying to measure them, is valuable in itself for a number of other reasons. For example, it should help you better understand the limits of Vintage playability, and to see what kinds of changes actually make a difference.

In short, this article will be more analytical and broad in its sweep. When evaluating whether a card is playable or not, I will as a consequence also consider what changes would make it so. There will be more comparisons to existing cards, and a broader view of the format as a whole. This should make for a deeper and more insightful read. This will be the most analytical, and longest, set review I’ve ever produced. This would not be possible had I been bound by the deadlines of a weekly column. My goal is to make this the best Vintage set review you’ve ever read, and certainly the best set review of Mirrodin Besieged.

Mirrodin Besieged is a thinking man’s set. It’s a set of many Pithing Needles. By that analogy I mean that Mirrodin Besieged is a set with many playables, but whose application and usage is highly contextual and skill-dependent. Pithing Needle is a card card whose utility is often a sum of its individual applications, rather than a single, obvious application. This set offers many cards in that mold. It’s also a set of complicated cards. Knowledge Pool is symbolic in this regard. Knowledge Pool is arguably the most complicated single card ever created, even more than the infamous Chains of Mephistopheles. It involves more specific zone transfers than any card since Mind’s Desire, and it has one of the arguably most confusing triggers ever printed. The type of review I offer here befits the nature of this set.

Please email me at Stephen@quietspeculation.com if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you.

II. Scars of Mirrodin Recap

In my Scars of Mirrodin set review, I identified the following cards as Vintage playable and likely to see Vintage play.

4 Contagion Clasp
4 Galvanic blast
4 Leonin Arbiter
4 Mox Opal

4 Nihil Spellbomb
4 Precursor Golem
4 Ratchet Bomb
4 Steel Hellkite
4 Sylvok Replica
4 Vedalken Certarch

Contagion Clasp has shown up in multiple Vintage Top 8s – it has proven itself Vintage playable. If Goblin Welder picks up in popularity, expect to see this card in even more Top 8s.

Galvanic Blast has not, as of yet, appeared in any reported Vintage Top 8. That does not mean that it is not Vintage playable; it just means it has yet to show up as such. As I said in my set review, this is Vintage playable, but that doesn’t mean it will see play. I am confident that it eventually will, however, if mono red Workshop decks ever see more than marginal play again. Currently, the dominance of mono-brown Workshop decks is keeping this card from seeing play.

Leonin Arbiter has appeared in multiple Vintage Top 8s, and has most frequently shown up in G/W/x beats decks. It has proven itself Vintage playable.

Mox Opal has appeared in many Vintage Top 8s, and has proven itself Vintage playable. If multi-color Workshop decks begin to see more play, expect to see this card’s value rise.

Nihil Spellbomb has appeared in many Vintage Top 8s, and has also proven itself to be Vintage playable. It’s appeared in 45 reported Vintage top 8 decklists, making it the second most played card from the set thus far. I stated that this card would be great in Vintage in my set review, but it somehow failed to make the final checklist, an error which I corrected.

Precursor Golem has appeared in multiple Vintage top 8s, and most recently has become a go-to answer for the Workshop mirror because of the permanent advantage it generates.

Ratchet Bomb has been enormously popular, appearing in 28 different decks in reported Vintage Top 8s. It is clearly Vintage playable.

Steel Hellkite has been even more popular, appearing in 60 different reported decks in Vintage Top 8s. It is a Vintage staple. Steel Hellkite has, thus far, proven the most successful card in the set.

Sylvok Replica is appearing in Vintage Top 8s where Workshop decks are using green. It has proven itself Vintage playable, and will become more popular if multi-color Workshop decks see play again.

Vedalken Certarch has, as of yet, made no Vintage top 8 appearances. But, as I explained in the last set review, this card is Vintage playable, and has a lot of potential, but is much less obvious. This card is only playable in Workshop decks that run blue. Like Galvanic Blast, this card is held back by the current dominance of mono-brown Workshop decks. If, and when, Workshop decks begin to emerge once again that run multiple colors, expect to see this guy begin to appear. For example, if Lodestone Golem is restricted some day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were, this card would become very playable. If you can acquire foil Certarchs, hold onto them. You might be able to make a good profit a year from now. Certarch also gains value with Mirrodin Besieged and the threat of Blightsteel Colossus.

In addition, there was a list of cards I identified as playable, but wasn’t sure would actually see play:

4 Arc Trail
4 Darksteel Juggernaut
3 Myr Battlesphere
4 Riddlesmith
4 Rusted Relic
4 Tunnel Ignus
4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
4 Wurmcoil Engine

Arc Trail has not yet appeared in any reported Vintage Top 8s. Darksteel Juggernaut has appeared in a reported Vintage Top 8. Myr Battlesphere has appeared in 15 reported Top 8s, and has become an excellent Vintage Tinker target. Riddlesmith has been advocated by Andy Probasco, but it has yet to appear in a reported Vintage Top 8. Rusted Relic has not yet appeared in a Vintage Top 8. Neither has Tunnel Ignus. Kuldotha Forgemaster has appeared in multiple Vintage Top 8s. And Wurmcoil Engine has appeared in 30 different Vintage Top 8s.

All of the cards I identified as Vintage playable have so far appeared in reported Vintage Top 8s except for Galvanic Blast, Vedalken Certarch, Arc Trail, Rusted Relic, and Tunnel Ignus. If those cards, I maintain that each is Vintage playable, and I continue to expect that Galvanic Blast and Vedalken Certarch will eventually see Vintage action.

Steel Hellkite has proven itself to be the most successful card from Scars thus far. My prediction regarding Steel Hellkite appears to have come true: “Decks with Hellkite are going to be a force in the new Vintage, and is a contender for the best 6 cc artifact creature of all time!” Hellkite is indeed a force in this format, and is a clear contender for top 6cc artifact creature. It has been especially useful in handling Trygon Predators from base-blue decks.

The biggest surprise for me has been Wurmcoil Engine, which I identified as playable, but as a niche playable. It’s the third most successful Vintage card from the set.

One card I discussed that I didn’t add to the buy list is Palladium Myr, which has appeared in a few Top 8s.

If you haven’t picked up those cards, now is the time to do so.

III. The Mirrodin Besieged Set Review

There are 155 cards in Mirrodin Besieged. 13 cards are reprints (including the 10 basic land). That means there are 142 cards to review.

I will begin with the artifacts.

A. Artifacts

Bladed Sentinel

4

Artifact Creature — Construct

2/4

{W}: Bladed Sentinel gains vigilance until end of turn.

One of the recurring themes of this set review is what makes a creature playable in Vintage. A refrain you’ll hear over and over again is that creatures in Vintage are generally only playable if (1) they disrupt the opponent’s game plan (e.g. Aven Mindcensor or Gaddock Teeg) or (2) generate some advantage (usually card or mana advantage) for the controller (e.g. Dark Confidant or Lotus Cobra). Some creatures do both (e.g. Tidespout Tyrant).

There are a few exceptions to this general rule. The first exception is creatures that are cheated into play with cards like Oath of Druids, Tinker, Dread Return, or Show and Tell. These creatures can serve as pure beaters. The second exception is cards that are in the top .002% (to be exact) in terms of mana efficiency of the nearly 6000 unique creatures in the Vintage card pool. These are the Tarmogoyfs of the format. What’s interesting, however, is how many cards that might seem to fit into one of the exceptions also provide unusual advantages. For example, Precursor Golem and Myr Battlesphere are both important because of the permanent advantage they generate, not simply the power to mana cost efficiency.

Disrupting the opponent or generating some advantage (mana, card, or permanent) is not sufficient, but it is generally necessary for a creature to be playable. The other major consideration is cost. The vast, vast majority of playable Vintage creatures cost 1, 2, or 3 mana. There are a few creatures that see play that cost more, but they are extremely rare: Glen Elendra Archmage, Sower of Temptation, Auriok Salvagers, and, very rarely, Meloku the Clouded Mirror. These creatures each generate card or mana advantage.

Artifact creatures can cost more because of Mishra’s Workshop. So, as a general rule of thumb, artifact creatures can cost two more mana on average than non-artifact creatures and still be playable for the same kinds of advantages.

A four mana 2/4 is well below Vintage standards of efficiency for a pure beater. In Vintage, a combined 8 power and toughness is expected for that mana cost, with Juggernaut and Su-Chi as examples. The additional ability of vigilance does not compensate for the loss of power. Unplayable.

Blightsteel Colossus

12

Artifact Creature — Golem

11/11

Trample, infect

Blightsteel Colossus is indestructible.

If Blightsteel Colossus would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, reveal Blightsteel Colossus and shuffle it into its owner's library instead.

Blightsteel Colossus is not only Vintage playable, it is going to become a Vintage staple. Nearly every Vintage player will intuit this, and I would not be adding much if I were to leave it there. Clearly, Blightsteel Colossus is Vintage playable. Blightsteel Colossus is going to see plenty of Vintage play. The more important questions are: How much play is Blightsteel Colossus going to see? What will Blightsteel Colossus replace/displace? What will be the repercussions of Blightsteel Colossus in the format? To answer those questions, we need to have a more nuanced evaluation of the card.

Vintage players have more Tinker target beatdown options than ever, especially with the recent printing of Myr Battlesphere. Myr Battlesphere, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Inkwell Leviathan, and Darksteel Colossus each offer particular advantages and disadvantages as a Tinker target and win condition. Add Blightsteel Colossus to the list.

Monster Turns to Kill
Darksteel Colossus 2 Turns (11 damage per hit)
Sphinx of the Steel Wind 4 Turns (6 damage per hit)
Inkwell Leviathan 3 Turns (7 damage per hit)
Myr Battlestation 2 Turns (12 damage/life loss per hit)
Blightsteel Colossus 1 Turn (11 poison counters per hit)

As you can see from this table, Blightsteel Colossus is the fastest Tinker summoned creature win condition ever printed! From the resolution of Tinker to the combat phase, Blightsteel Colossus takes the fewest turns to win the game. Unimpeded, it offers the quickest victory. To appreciate the advantage Blightsteel Colossus offers, we need to evaluate, with some precision, the role of speed in Tinker-based win conditions.

If speed were the only or predominant consideration in terms of Tinker target selection, then Darksteel Colossus would see more play than Sphinx of the Steel Wind or Inkwell Leviathan. But for most of 2009 and 2010, Sphinx and Inkwell saw far more play than Darksteel Colossus. Why?

First of all, defense. Sphinx of the Steel Wind takes twice as many turns to win, but unlike Darksteel Colossus, it can play defense while dealing damage (thanks to Vigilance and lifelink). Thus, you need not fear that attacking your opponent will allow them to counter-attack with a lethal army. Even if an opponent has more than enough damage, the lifelink will prevent you from losing the game. This life also matters when generating card advantage with Dark Confidant. An opponent will have a very difficult time making an alpha strike if Sphinx is on the board, even if they can easily overwhelm it. Because of First Strike, Sphinx can almost always survive combat.

Second, resilience. Darksteel Colossus may be indestructible, but that doesn’t count for much in a format where the primary forms of removal do not deal damage, but instead bounces permanents or causes them to change zones. Thus, Darksteel Colossus can be Echoing Truthed, Swords to Plowshared, Goblin Weldered out of play. Inkwell Leviathan can’t be touched by any of these. Not even Jace, The Mind Sculptor can get at him. Sphinx of the Steel Wind has protection from Goblin Welder, and can’t ever been killed by Tarmogoyfs or Rack and Ruin. Inkwell Leviathan is the most resilient, followed by Sphinx, and then Darksteel Colossus.

Third, permanent advantage. The primary advantage that Myr Battlesphere has over every other Tinker target is that it can’t be stopped by Tangle Wire or easily answered by Smokestack. Nor can Jace remove it with a single bounce, as tokens will still remain to kill Jace. With the rise of Workshop decks and the predominance of Tangle Wire in both Workshop Aggro and Workshop Control strategies, Myr Battlesphere has become arguably the best Tinker target option.

These advantages, together with the situational advantage of being blue, and therefore pitchable to Force of Will in hand, more than compensate for the additional turns needed to win the game. This is why Sphinx of the Steel Wind and Inkwell Leviathan see more play than Darksteel Colossus, and the permanent advantage explains why Myr Battlesphere is seeing more and more play as well.

Now, let’s analyze how these various factors affect Blightsteel Colossus. Being a one hit-wonder (that is, winning in one-swing) actually renders the “defense” point pretty much irrelevant. Consider this two turn sequence:

You: Tinker for a Darksteel Colossus

Your Opponent: Play a Tarmogoyf and a Dark Confidant.

You: Attack with Darksteel Colossus, sending your opponent to 8. On your endstep, your opponent Flashes in a Vendillion Clique.

Your Opponent: Attack you with two 5/6 Tarmogoyfs, a Vendillion Clique, a Qasali Pridemage, and a Dark Confidant. You are dead.

Now, substitute Sphinx of the Steel Wind for Darksteel Colossus, and you probably win this game.

The key point is that Sphinx has the advantage of being able to play defense while killing your opponent. From the turn it hits play, it is a deterrent to attacking, and prevents your opponent from alpha striking while your creature is tapped.

The critical turn was the turn after your first attack. Notice that Blightsteel Colossus, by winning in a single turn, renders this quality irrelevant. Direct comparisons to Darksteel Colossus will obscure this point. It’s only in context that we can see that Blightsteel Colossus, by winning so quickly, actually has the quality that Sphinx provides: defense. It does so through the cliché: the best defense is a great offense.

Consider if Blightsteel Colossus were used in the sequence above. Your opponent would be forced to block to avoid acquiring lethal poison counters. They would have to throw at least two toughness in front of the Colossus rather than simply sucking up all of the damage. This may not seem like much, but it can make the difference between winning and losing, especially since the Aggro player must mount a lethal strike while the Colossus is tapped!

Granted, an opponent can still launch an alpha strike the turn after Blightsteel Colossus arrived on the battlefield, and this is one of the few areas wherein Sphinx of the Steel Wind still has a slight advantage.

Blightsteel Colossus should give Myr Battlesphere a run for its money. Blightsteel Colossus is faster than Myr Battlesphere, and that is a clear advantage. On the other side of the ledger, Blightsteel Colossus does not create a permanent advantage, like Myr Battlesphere, and that is one of the key features that will hold it back. In addition, it can be removed with Duplicant, Welded with Welder, and held at bay with Tangle Wire. In that respect, Inkwell Leviathan, and to a lesser extent, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, still offer advantages over Blightsteel Colossus. Blightsteel Colossus’ main impact will be to displace or cause Darksteel Colossus to disappear. Secondarily, it should reduce the amount of play that Sphinx of the Steel Wind sees. However, it may inadvertently make Inkwell Leviathan a better option, as opponent’s adjust their Tinker counter-tactics for Blightsteel Colossus.

The things that have been identified that matter: speed, color, permanent advantage, defense, lifegain, resilience… these are all important qualities that endow a card with utility. It’s only through the array of options that we see how each of these elements matters. Unfortunately, these elements can’t be directly compared because they are qualitative, not quantitative. There is no way to measure the value of being blue against the value of 2 turns versus 3 to win the game. This is a good thing. Judgment, and therefore player skill, matters more than ever. With more Tinker options than ever before, the player that gets it right, who correctly identifies how each advantage or disadvantage counts in the metagame, will be rewarded over those who don’t.

Blightsteel Colossus, welcome to Vintage. You will be around for a while.

Bonehoard

4

Artifact — Equipment

Living weapon (When this Equipment enters the battlefield, put a 0/0 black Germ creature token onto the battlefield, then attach this to it.)

Equipped creature gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creature cards in all graveyards.

Equip {2}

Bonehoard is not Vintage playable. The bar is pretty high for a 4 mana artifact in Vintage. Currently, the top examples are Smokestack and Lodestone Golem, cards that are highly disruptive. In order for this to be playable, it would probably have to start with 5 power, and probably 6-7 to be more than marginal. As it is, in Vintage, there are very rarely more than a few creatures in graveyards. Getting more creatures into the graveyard to make this a lethal or at least threatening play would require more resource expenditures and tactical effort. Even with effects like Dredge or Hermit Druids, this card would produce a fragile, inefficient, and ineffectual win condition.

Brass Squire

3

Artifact Creature — Myr

1/3

{T}: Attach target Equipment you control to target creature you control.

The merit of this spell is the ability to move equipment from creature to creature at instant speed. There is virtually no utility to be gained from changing equipment in Vintage. The only equipment that really sees play in Vintage is Sword of Fire and Ice and Umezawa’s Jitte. With that in mind, this creature is for almost all intents and purposes a 3cc 1/3, which makes it just worse than Bottle Gnomes for the same stats. Bottle Gnomes sees no current Vintage play. This will see no Vintage play.

Copper Carapace

1

Artifact — Equipment

Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and can't block.

Equip {3}

The very best equipment has proven to be Vintage playable. Umezawa’s Jitte sees play because of its versatility and dominance in combat. Sword of Fire and Ice sees play because it is a source of card advantage and tremendously accelerates your clock. A four mana equip to generate two additional damage per attack is probably below Vintage standards. If the play and activation costs were reversed, it would be much stronger candidate for Vintage, since it could be played off of a Workshop and then equipped using any other mana source. Whether such a card would be Vintage playable may be unlikely, but it is not a question we have to decide today. As it is, this card is not Vintage playable.

Core Prowler

4

Artifact Creature — Horror

2/2

Infect (This creature deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters and to players in the form of poison counters.)

When Core Prowler is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, proliferate.

At first glance, a 4 casting cost 2/2 does not appear to be a very efficient creature, by any standard, let alone Vintage. That’s worse than a Grey Ogre, let alone Grizzly Bear. However, this creature has infect. Delivering 2 poison counters per swing can win the game in 5 swings, the same amount of turns a 4/4 (think Su-Chi) would deliver a death blow. A coup de-grace, if this creature were to leave play, it would deliver another poision counter.

Unfortunately, in terms of killing the opponent, the additional poison counter is unlikely to matter, since it wouldn’t supply the critical 10th counter, unless another means of poisoning could be produced. That means that this would likely need to swing in at least five times, without being destroyed or blocked, to win the game. That’s simply too slow. As a point of comparision, Su-Chi doesn’t even see play in current Vintage, and it has the same clock speed. Like Su-Chi, however, Core Prowler can trade with a Lodestone Golem or a Juggernaut, so it has that going for it. This card is simply too slow to be Vintage playable.

It does raise an interesting design question: how fast would a creature have to be to be a pure beater in a Workshop deck to see play? Juggernaut does, from time to time, see play, but the relative utility of slightly more expensive creatures like Precursor Golem, outshines it. Precursor Golem has begun to appear in Vintage Top 8s, as I forecast. The main advantage of Precursor Golem is permanent advantage in the Workshop mirror, and that’s why, for example, Ben Carp has included 4 in his sideboard. Precursor Golem offers 9 power for 5 mana, a standard that is pretty high. I would expect that Core Prowler would need at least 3 power to be considered for Vintage play. If it had 5 power, it would definitely be Vintage playable, since it could win the game in two swings. With 3 or 4 power, it might be Vintage playable. We need not answer the question definitively since we can conclude in any case that 2 power is not enough. Core Prowler is not Vintage playable unless Workshop Aggro decks can pair it with very efficient ways to generate poison counters.

Darksteel Plate

3

Artifact — Equipment

Darksteel Plate is indestructible.

Equipped creature is indestructible.

Equip {2}

This card brings into focus the value of indestructibility. There have been plenty of cards with indestructibility that have seen play in Vintage: Darksteel Citadel, Darksteel Colossus, and Darksteel Ingot, among others. Indestructibility clearly has some utility. But in Vintage, although creatures frequently deal combat damage, they less frequently do it to each other. Creatures in Vintage either attack or serve as a speedbump to an opposing attacker. In that particular respect, indestructibility is not particularly important.

The other benefit of indestructibility is some degree of immunity from permanent removal. With cards like Ancient Grudge, Nature’s Claim and Trygon Predator seeing plenty of play, indestructibility can be an important answer. However, there are two critical caveats. First, while there are plenty of permanent destruction spells in Vintage, an appreciable number of such answers are either bounce spells or spells that ignore indestructibility. For example, Hurkyl’s Recall, Swords to Plowshares, Goblin Welder, and Jace the Mind Sculptor each deal with a permanent in a way that indestructibility is no shield. In many of those cases, other forms of protection generated by similar equipment is superior or just as effective. For example, Lightning Greaves will protect against a spell as well or better against many of the cards from both lists. Similarly, Sword of Fire and Ice will stop many of those as well. However, Lightning Greaves is more efficient and Sword of Fire and Ice does much more. For Vintage purposes, both of those equipment would seem to offer better value than Darksteel Plate. This shouldn’t see any Vintage play.

Decimator Web

4

Artifact

{4}, {T}: Target opponent loses 2 life, gets a poison counter, then puts the top six cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

This card is not Vintage playable. The flavor text should be “It does everything, but nothing well.” Cards with multiple functions are usually better in Vintage. Staff of Domination sees more than its fair share of play. Decimator Web’s functions are largely substitutes for each other, rather than complements, and that’s the first problem with this card. The multiple effects generated by its activated ability do not synergize or build towards a common goal. The other problem is this card’s enormous expense. Eight mana for this effect is egregiously overpriced. Staff of Domination offers a counterpoint for affordable activation costs in Vintage.

Dross Ripper

4

Artifact Creature — Hound

3/3

{2}{B}: Dross Ripper gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

See Bladed Sentinel.

Flayer Husk

1

Artifact — Equipment

Living weapon

Equipped creature gets +1/+1.

Equip {2} {2}: Attach to target creature you control.

Generating two permanents for one mana is noteworthy, but I don’t see a practical use for this effect. If the germ token were an artifact, it might be good in an affinity style shell, since it could be sacrificed to Arcbound Ravager, and then the equipment would still be around. Shouldn’t see play.

Gust Skimmer

2

Artifact Creature — Insect

2/1

{U}: Gust-Skimmer gains flying until end of turn.

For two mana you can get Arcbound Ravager in Vintage. This card is not Vintage playable.

Hexplate Golem

7

Artifact Creature — Golem

5/7

This is a better deal than Ebony Rhino, but for 7 mana, you can get Myr Battlesphere, Platinum Angel, Pentavus, Triskelavus, or just spend six and get Steel Hellkite, Wurmcoil Engine, or Duplicant. This guy shouldn’t see any play.

Ichor Wellspring

2

Artifact

When Ichor Wellspring enters the battlefield or is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, draw a card.

We’ve come a long way since Jayemdae Tome. This is a potential component to a creative Vintage draw engine. There are only a few artifacts, like Tsabo’s Web, that have this Comes Into Play trigger. I’ve mentioned Tsabo’s Web and cards like Jester’s Scepter in connection with cards like Esperzoa before, and this is yet another possible application of that idea.

What’s most interesting about this card, however, is the application with Goblin Welder. Wellspring immediately replaces itself, so no additional cost is necessary. But by sacrificing it to a Smokestack, Tinker, Transmute Artifact, or even an Arcbound Ravager or Kuldotha Forgemaster, you can generate an additional card. The really busted potential begins when you begin Welding it. Weld it out. Draw a card. Weld it in. Draw a card. And on and on.

Ichor Wellspring is Vintage playable. This card is a natural fit in any Arcbound Ravager deck in Vintage (although there are precious few of them these days), and a serious consideration in any Workshop Welder deck.

Knowledge Pool

6

Artifact

Imprint — When Knowledge Pool enters the battlefield, each player exiles the top three cards of his or her library.

Whenever a player casts a spell from his or her hand, that player exiles it. If the player does, he or she may cast another nonland card exiled with Knowledge Pool without paying that card's mana cost.

This card is bound to confuse. Knowledge Pool is a complex multi-functional, chaotically symmetrical, multi-zone-changing card. Knowledge Pool requires solid knowledge of many of the most difficult areas of the rules, save the layering of state based effects. I would argue that Knowledge Pool is the most confusing card ever printed, even ahead of the notorious Chains of Mephistopheles. If you doubt this, consider which card is more confusing in multiples. The final trigger requires an FAQ to understand. I am more than a little surprised that Wizards would print, let alone design and template, a card of this complexity and inevitable confusion.

To analyze this card for Vintage playability, we need to get a handle on this card’s functionality in the Vintage context. Unfortunately, this card has many functions. It exiles cards, it may allow you to ‘cheat’ spells into play, and it prevents players from resolving spells from the stack.

Let’s begin with the last item. This card actually prevents players from resolving spells they put onto the stack! Every new spell added to the stack is exiled, and may be replaced with a previously exiled spell, frustrating the attempts of players to resolve important spells. Let me provide an example.

Suppose Knowledge Pool is in play. Six spells are exiled by the Knowledge Pool. Your opponent wants to play a game-winning Yawgmoth’s Will. They play Yawgnoth’s Will. Knowledge Pool triggers. When the trigger resolves, Yawgmoth’s Will is exiled, and they must play another spell instead from the Knowledge Pool. To play the Yawgmoth’s Will, they must expend mana or other resources to play another spell, frustrating their attempts to win the game with Yawgmoth’s Will. This is the simplest scenario illustrating Knowledge Pool’s disruptive influence.

The important point here is that Knowledge Pool does something very powerful: it frustrates player’s attempts to resolve spells from the stack. The ability to prevent the opponent from resolving spells is unbelievably potent, in theory. Players attempt to win games by resolving spells in pursuit of strategic ends. This card prevents players from doing that. To the extent that it does so, it can actually serve as a strategic trump, preventing the opponent from achieving strategic objectives! In magic, the ability to thwart the opponent from achieving such objectives is the essence of the “control” role. From that perspective alone, this card is potentially enormously powerful and useful. It is can serve as a complete control trump.

On the other hand, Knowledge Pool doesn’t totally prevent the opponent from resolving relevant spells. To resolve a spell, they’ll first have to remove it with the Knowledge pool, and then play another one. So, for example, if an opponent wants to resolve Yawgmoth’s Will, they will first have to exile the Yawgmoth’s Will onto the Knowledge Pool, and then play another spell and resolve the Knowledge Pool trigger before the opponent steals the Yawgmoth’s Will by playing a spell themselves.

That may seem like a minor hoop to jump through. However, you can – in theory – perpetually thwart an opponent’s attempt to resolve a critical spell such as Yawgmoth’s Will. Suppose, continuing the example above, that the active player follows up the Yawgmoth’s Will with another card from hand, say a Mox, which then triggers the Knowledge Pool. In response, the opponent may play an instant to trigger the Knowledge Pool, and ‘steal’ the Yawgmoth’s Will before the active player may resolve their Knowledge Pool trigger and cast their own Yawgmoth’s Will.

There are a few cards that produce this kind of effect, with Dovescape being the closest analogue. Other cards include Zur’s Weirding and Counterbalance. Eye of the Storm is superficially similar, but it doesn’t shut down the opponent to the same degree, because you can’t ultimately stop the opponent from resolving their critical spells. For example, you can’t stop an opponent from eventually resolving a Krosan Grip on the enchantment. Dovescape does, but Dovescape isn’t as totalitarian because the tokens can win the game.

Of course, like Dovesecape, this card is symmetrical. In practice, the symmetry of Dovescape is usually practically asymmetric, hurting one player more than another. Similarly, Knowledge Pool’s superficial symmetry can be broken. Players with more instants will have the advantage in being able to resolve their Knowledge Pool triggers first. For example, suppose you resolved Knowledge Pool, exiling one of your opponent’s Jace, the Mind Sculptors. You attempt to play a Mox, which triggers the Knowledge Pool. Your intent is to replace the Mox with your opponent’s Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Recognizing your intent, they decide to play Force of Will, targeting your Mox. Their Force triggers Knowledge Pool, which exiles it, and they instead play their own Jace. Now your plan has backfired.

This example, and the underlying principle, pretty much rules out Workshops as a home for this card, although it is a potentially game-ending control effect that Workshop Prison decks might otherwise enjoy. Workshop decks are also the place where most 6cc artifacts find a home: Duplicant, Steel Hellkite, and Triskelion each see a lot of play.

On the other hand, this example, and the underlying function of the card, also suggests that the advantage definitely goes to the active player, which is defined in the rules as the player whose turn it is. The active player will have a broader range of spells they can play to trigger Knowledge Pool in the first place. But as the example above also illustrates instant speed spells can negate this advantage because of the card’s symmetry. That makes this card unpredictable and chaotic. But it is not as unbounded or unpredictable as many critics or readers may think.

There is a limit to the number of triggers that Knowledge Pool can or is likely to generate during a turn. Further, there is a limit to the number of Knowledge Pool triggers that can go on the stack at the same time. The factors that constrain this are the number of cards in each players hand, the potential instants they may have, and their mana and hand resources. Each player can only play so many spells at a time. This makes Knowledge Pool a known unknown, like counting the number of counterspells your opponent may have. You don’t know exactly what they have, but you can calculate an upper limit and estimate a likely number. To that extent, Knowledge Pool is not as chaotic or unpredictable as it may seem. Even when you pass the turn, it is possible to thwart the opponent from resolving their most important spells if you have enough instants in hand or happen to have a counterspell in the Pool.

It’s my assessment that a blue player with a carefully designed deck should be able to deploy Knowledge Pool as a strategic finisher to win the game by preventing the opponent from achieving their strategic objectives. If this is playable in Vintage, I think it would be in a blue based control deck as a finisher. Once resolved, the blue pilot would then use this to take complete control over the game, preventing the opponent from resolving anything important. As a big finisher, this card can take complete control over the game. It’s expensive, and using it as a finisher will require a strong defense in the interim, including the ability to survive the early and mid-game. I don’t expect it to be played in Vintage in the near future, but it is, at least in theory, potentially playable.

There is another, less likely, potential application. This card also functions like a mana cheat spell, like Eureka or Sneak Attack. This card allows you to play cards for free or for a much reduced casting cost. It doesn’t just allow you to play any card for free, but cards that were exiled when Knowledge Pool came into play or subsequently. In terms of immediate, practical application, this means the top 3 cards of both players libraries. So, if you have an Emrakul on top of your library, you can play a Mox and then play Emrakul instead. For example, Worldly Tutor can be used to put Emrakul on top, and then a subsequent Knowledge Pool can allow you to play it for just a few mana.

Knowledge Pool is an unlikely Vintage playable, but it generates effects so powerful that they cannot be discounted. Knowledge Pool is a theoretically playable card, but I don’t expect it to be showing up in Vintage Top 8s near you. If it does appear, I expect it to show up as a singleton or 2-of in blue control decks as a strategic trump.

Lumengrid Gargoyle

6

Artifact Creature — Gargoyle

4/4

Flying

Strictly inferior to Stell Hellkite.

Magnetic Mine

4

Artifact

Whenever another artifact is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, Magnetic Mine deals 2 damage to that artifact's controller.

It’s too bad this card is symmetrical. The only possible application I could see is to stop decks built around artifact recursion, such as Bomberman or certain variants of Affinity. Neither of those decks sees more than fringe level play in Vintage, and there are probably better answers in any case.

Mirrorworks

5

Artifact

Whenever another nontoken artifact enters the battlefield under your control, you may pay {2}. If you do, put a token that's a copy of that artifact onto the battlefield.

If this copied opponent’s artifacts, it would be Vintage playable. Neither Mirari nor Minion Reflector see play in Vintage. However, a five mana artifact that just copies instants or sorceries is too expensive for Vintage play, and an equally expensive artifact that just copies creatures is too narrow for Vintage play. Mirrorworks copies the best card type in Vintage: artifacts, and it is not too expensive for a Workshop deck.

The problem is that the main application of this kind of card would be to copy opponent’s artifacts, not yours. Copying your own spells is relevant, particularly in the Workshop mirror match. The Workshop mirror match is often defined by the struggle for board superiority. When the board is overflowing with Sphere-type effects, the ability to resolve permanents can be decisive. Although it may cost 4-5 mana to play a Thorn of Amethyst, you can copy the spell for just two more mana. Ditto a Lodestone Golem or Triskelion. Imagine copying a Tangle Wire! The bonus can be very important.

If this card copied opponent’s spells, then you could match your opponent every time they played a permanent, regardless of how much they spent to cast it. In that respect, it could easily overwhelm the Workshop mirror match. More intriguingly, such a card could answer many of the most potent threats to your strategy: copying Tinker targets or Time Vaults as they come into play. It is these applications, copying the opponent’s permanents, that would generate the most value, although not all of it.

The casting cost and application is efficient enough for Vintage play, but its applicability is probably too narrow given the opportunity cost of the slot. You’d rather just have Precursor Golem for the mirror.

Mortarpod

2

Artifact — Equipment

Living weapon

Equipped creature gets +0/+1 and has "Sacrifice this creature: This creature deals 1 damage to target creature or player."

Equip {2}

There are too many other efficient artifact sources of direct damage for this to see play.

Myr Sire

2

Artifact Creature — Myr

1/1

When Myr Sire is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, put a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token onto the battlefield.

Reminiscent of Arcbound Worker, and another possible addition to Vintage affinity.

Myr Turbine

5

Artifact

{T}: Put a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token onto the battlefield.

{T}, Tap five untapped Myr you control: Search your library for a Myr creature card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

This card is not Vintage playable.

Myr Turbine generates a potentially amazing effect: Tinkering up a Myr. The cost of doing so is exorbitant. Even with a full clip of Myr Servitors, it’s difficult to see what advantage could be generated that couldn’t be generated with the same resource utilization. Yes, there are plenty of combos: Myr Retriever, Myr Servitor, etc, but are any those any good? I am skeptical.

For it’s base cost, this card is little better than the hive. The second activation is very difficult to execute, and therefore unreliable. This card shouldn’t see any Vintage play.

Myr Welder

3

Artifact Creature — Myr

1/4

Imprint — {T}: Exile target artifact card from a graveyard.

Myr Welder has all activated abilities of all cards exiled with it.

This guy is Vintage playable.

The name of this card and its ability may appear to suggest that this card serves a recursive function. I’m not convinced. What artifacts in Vintage will you be exiling to take advantage of the recursive possibility? What artifacts with activated abilities will you be recurring? Here is a list of playable artifacts from my previous set review with activated abilities:

1 Aether Spellbomb

4 Aether Vial

4 Arcbound Ravager

1 Black Lotus

4 Chromatic Sphere

4 Chromatic Star

4 Chrome Mox

4 Cranial Plating

1 Coalition Relic

3 Engineered Explosives

4 Goblin Charbelcher

4 Grindstone

4 Grim Monolith

1 Helm of Obedience

4 Jester’s Cap

4 Karn, Silver Golem

1 Lion’s Eye Diamond

1 Lotus Petal

1 Mana Crypt

1 Mana Vault

3 Masticore

1 Memory Jar

4 Metalworker

4 Mindlock Orb

2 Mindslaver

4 Mox Diamond

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Sapphire

4 Powder Keg

1 Pyrite Spellbomb

3 Razormane Masticore

4 Relic of Progenitus

4 Serum Powder

3 Sensei’s Divining Top

4 Skullclamp

1 Sol Ring

4 Staff of Domination

4 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Time Vault

4 Tormod’s Crypt

4 Triskelion

3 Umezawa’s Jitte

4 Voltaic Key

Then, if we add Scars of Mirrodin additions, we get a few more, like Steel Hellkite and Ratchet Bomb.

We can further filter out cards whose activated abilities depend upon internal characteristics, which Myr Welder would not imprint, such as Triskelion’s counters. Over a third of these artifacts are primarily mana sources, like Sol Ring and Metalworker. Of the remaining cards, many are either highly situational, like Goblin Charbelcher or Aether Spellbomb, or Serum Powder, and would not likely be imprinted for value.

As you can see, the individual possibilities for imprinting aren’t overwhelming or all that impressive. Among the single best applications may be a card like Masticore, where both of the activated abilities can be copied without the drawback. In the end, this card’s utility may be more a function of the range of possible uses than a single particularly broken application. For example, spinning a Top or copying a Mox may provide enough functionality over time to justify its inclusion in a deck, which, by the late game, can become a Karn or something of that power level. In the meantime, a 1/4 body can serve on defense until better applications become available.

If we move away from strict ability copying applications, we see other functions for Myr Welder. Welder is not bad at thwarting opposing Goblin Welders, a long-standing problem for mono-brown Workshop decks or Workshop decks facing blue control players with Welder. It’s also useful at combating threshold applications, like Cabal Pit or Barbarian Ring that some Workshop decks use.

Another criticism of this card is its speed. Artifacts with relevant abilities probably don’t go to the graveyard that quickly without help, and it’s not clear how much this guy can contribute in the most important stages of the game.

Myr Welder is playable, but it will remain to be seen whether he actually sees play. I think he’ll probably show up somewhere at some point in the next 6 months.

Peace Strider

4

Artifact Creature — Construct

3/3

When Peace Strider enters the battlefield, you gain 3 life.

Four mana for a 3/3 body is well below Vintage standards. This card is not playable. I’d rather play Arcbound Crusher for the same casting cost.

Phyrexian Digester

3

Artifact Creature — Construct

2/1

Infect

A ten turn clock with 1 toughness is not likely to get the job done. This card probably wouldn’t be playable even if it cost 1 mana, let alone 2.

Phyrexian Juggernaut

6

Artifact Creature — Juggernaut

5/5

Infect

Phyrexian Juggernaut attacks each turn if able.

At six mana, this card has steep competition with Wurmcoil Engine, Steel Hellkite, Triskelion, and Duplicant. Each of those cards is disruptive and has a quick clock. This creature is less disruptive than any of those, but features a faster clock, at least, unimpeded. I have a difficult time imagining people selecting Phyrexian Juggernaut over any, or most, of the aforementioned cards.

As a point of comparison, I wonder whether a 6 mana 10/10 artifact creature would be playable. We already get 9 power for 5 mana with Precursor Golem, and it only sees marginal amounts of play. As I said in the context of Core Prowler, if this cost 4 mana, it would be playable. But at six mana, I’m skeptical. A 10/10 for 6 mana might actually be playable, but 5 toughness means it can’t survive combat with most Tinker targets, whereas a 10 toughness creature might. And, of course, the question of whether a card is playable or not is not the same as whether it will see play. The latter question I think is probably easier to answer: I don’t expect this guy to show up in any Vintage Top 8s in the next 3-5 months. Whether it’s playable or not, I truly can’t tell, but I don’t think so.

Phyrexian Revoker

2

Artifact Creature — Horror

2/1

As Phyrexian Revoker enters the battlefield, name a nonland card.

Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated.

A virtual Pithing Needle on legs. Pithing Needle is a Vintage staple, and this guy should be too.

First of all, two casting cost is the norm for playable disruptive creatures in the format: Meddling Mage, Kataki, Qasali Pridemage, etc. In that respect, he is efficient enough for Vintage play.

Pithing Needle is heavily played in Vintage because of its broad utility. However, a non-trivial amount of cards named with Needle are lands: Bazaar of Baghdad, Wasteland, Mishra’s Factory and Library of Alexandria are often Needled. That said, being a creature and being able to deal damage gives a card even more utility that I believe compensates for this limitation vis-à-vis Pithing Needle. And, moreover, unlike PIthing Needle, you can name artifact accelerants with this card! That seems like more than a fair enough trade off.

What cards might be likely Needle targets in Vintage?

  • Artifact Accelerants: Sol Ring, Moxen, Black Lotus, Mana Crypt, etc.
  • Jace, the Mind Sculptor
  • Time Vault
  • Metalworker
  • Steel Hellkite
  • Triskelion
  • Grindstone
  • Sensei’s Divining Top
  • Goblin Welder
  • Tezzeret
  • Memory Jar, Necropotence, Yawgmoth’s Bargain

In short, this card has many applications across a variety of matchups. Stopping Jace and Time Vault is a priority for Fish decks, and now there is another 2 mana answer to both. This guy may also be useful in Workshop decks for a similar reason, although he will compete with other options, and is probably more of a sideboard card for specific Workshop mirror matches.

I expect to see Phyrexian Revoker in Fish and Beats decks, and occasionally in Workshop decks. This is a Vintage playable, and could become a Vintage staple.

Pierce Strider

4

Artifact Creature — Construct

3/3

When Pierce Strider enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 3 life.

A better comes into play trigger than Peace Strider, but the same analysis applies.

Piston Sledge

3

Artifact — Equipment

When Piston Sledge enters the battlefield, attach it to target creature you control.

Equipped creature gets +3/+1.

Equip—Sacrifice an artifact.

This is the most promising equipment from the set thus far. For three mana, you get an immediate 3 power boost to the creature of your choice. It could play out like this:

Turn One:

Mishra’s Workshop, Mox, Lodestone Golem

Turn Two:

Piston Sledge, equipping Golem, Ancient Tomb, Sphere of Resistance. Attack for 8.

However, for two additional mana, you can get more damage out of a Sword of Fire and Ice, and the benefit of card advantage and protection from blue and red. I don’t expect this to see play in Vintage, but it is efficient enough by Vintage standards. The reason I don’t expect it to see play is that cards that produce only damage are less valuable than cards that produce damage and generate either card advantage or some degree of protection or resiliency. Still, if someone were to design a super fast Workshop Aggro deck, this card would be a serious consideration.

Plague Myr

2

Artifact Creature — Myr

1/1

Infect

{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.

You’d rather have Grim Monolith, which is unrestricted in Vintage.

Psychosis Crawler

5

Artifact Creature — Horror

*/*

Psychosis Crawler's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.

Whenever you draw a card, each opponent loses 1 life.

Again, this card is primarily, although not exclusively, a beater. The ability of making an opponent suffer a damage for each card you draw matters, but it only matters if you have other ways to draw cards or if you expect this to be out for several turns before you win the game.

The place to start in our analysis is to figure out how big he has to be to be playable. The standard is Precursor Golem. This guy isn’t nearly large enough to justify including. Perhaps if it pinged the opponent every time they drew a card it would be playable, since it would do damage faster and punish specific spells like Jace. As is, this guy is just too slow for Vintage.

Razorfield Rhino

6

Artifact Creature — Rhino

4/4

Metalcraft — Razorfield Rhino gets +2/+2 as long as you control three or more artifacts.

In my Scars of Mirrodin Set Review, I established a clear two step framework for evaluating cards with Metalcraft. First of all, for the purposes of analysis, it is helpful to evaluate a card as if its metalcraft condition were always satisfied. No card is playable unless it can be satisfied. If a card is unplayable even with its metalcraft condition satisfied, then we need not progress any further. Second, we need to evaluate whether the card can be reliably supported to satisfy the metalcraft condition. After running the math, you need about 33 artifacts in your deck to meet that condition reliably enough for Vintage play. In general, this will restrict the use of most metalcraft spells to Workshop decks or affinity decks. Although it is possible, as described in the previous set review, for Fish or other decks to meet that threshold requirement.

Applying that framework, we can see that this card fails at the first step. With the metalcraft condition satisfied, this is a 6/6 creature for 6 mana, which makes it worse than Wurmcoil Engine, which is rarely a four-of. That also makes it probably worse than Phyrexian Juggernaut. Razorfield Rhino is not Vintage playable.

Rusted Slasher

4

Artifact Creature — Horror

4/1

Sacrifice an artifact: Regenerate Rusted Slasher.

Another 4 power 4cc creature with a non-trivial ability. This is probably just worse than Su-Chi, since the small creature will require a regeneration, and definitely worse than Juggernaut. However, it is probably better than Synod Centurion. Neither sees any play in current Vintage.

Shimmer Myr

3

Artifact Creature — Myr

2/2

Flash

You may cast artifact cards as though they had flash.

A 3 mana 2/2 is not Vintage playable, so its playability hinges on its ability. What is the value of having flash and/or giving other artifacts flash?

At first glance, the ability to give your artifacts Flash may not seem that valuable. After all, Workshop decks operate best with their cards are in play, not in hand. It is only when lock parts are in play that they disrupt the opponent. Playing a Sphere of Resistance in response to a spell will not have the intended effect. Relatedly, the opportunity cost of such a situational effect could be quite high. Workshop decks typically develop their board to prevent the opponent from winning. That is, given a hand with a mix of disruption and beaters, the disruption is usually the priority. The disruption is deployed quickly so that the opponent can’t or won’t be able to combo out with Time Vault, Tinker or some other threat. For example, imagine your opening hand is: Mishra’s Workshop, Mox Pearl, Ancient Tomb, Shimmer Myr, Triskelion, Sphere of Resistance, and Tangle Wire. You’re going to prioritize the Sphere and the Tangle Wire, making Shimmer Myr a largely dead card. Even if it weren’t, it’s not clear how much advantage you derive from being able to play Triskelion at instant speed, but it does appear to be a marginal advantage.

In spite of these general concerns, I see two critical applications for Shimmer Myr, one obvious, one more subtle. The first, and most obvious, is the interaction with spells like Hurkyl’s Recall – mass artifact bounce. Shimmer Myr allows you to replay all of your spells, beginning with this one, after your opponent has resolved Hurkyl’s Recall or a Rebuild effect. Hurkyl’s Recall effects are enormously popular in Vintage because they can single-handedly wipe out an opponent’s board, allow the controller to untap and then play whatever they might wish to play unmolested. Hurkyl’s Recall costs a mere two mana, and is about the best single silver bullet against Workshop decks you can resolve on the Workshop players endstep.

When an opponent resolves Hurkyl’s Recall on your endstep, you can simply respond with Shimmer Myr, and then replay most, if not all, of your board! That is a tremendous upside. This application is important above all because of the ubiquity of Hurkyl’s Recall. Storm combo decks, and a range of blue control decks, rely on Hurkyl’s Recall effects as a post-board strategy against many Workshop decks. The potential to invalidate that tactic is enormously valuable.

However, before we laud this card as the end of Hurkyl’s Recall effects, there are a number of other considerations to bear in mind in connection with this application. First, while this an important potential application, the opportunity cost of the slot must always be considered. While Shimmer Myr will help you replay your board after a Hurkyl’s Recall has resolved, it is also possible that Hurkyl’s Recall may not have resolved in the first place had you played something other than Shimmer Myr. Secondly, while this application is important, you must have drawn the Shimmer Myr in the relevant time frame. In this respect, I could see Shimmer Myr being used as an anti-Hurkyl’s Recall sideboard tactic. The third problem, however, is that it may simply shore up matchups that you are already strong against.

The second, and potentially more important application, is the interaction this spell has in combating counterspells like Mana Drain. In the control matchup, there are two time frames: before your opponent is able to play Mana Drain and after they are able to play Mana Drain. Before your opponent can play Mana Drain, Workshop players generally play any spell they can afford to cast. After the opponent has Mana Drain mana available, the entire dynamic changes. If an opponent is able to resolve a Mana Drain, they can often leverage that additional mana to play game winning effects. Thus, Mana Drain mana is a deterrent to playing spells at all, at least until it can be safely overwhelmed.

Shimmer Myr has the potential to change that dynamic entirely. Shimmer Myr allows you to play spells on your time frame, which may mean playing spells on your opponent’s endstep or second main phase. This will make it easier both to resolve spells on your turn and force them to counter bait spells. Thus, you can play an EOT Smokestack, untap and add a counter, for example. You can play a big mana spell without fearing losing. Yes, the control player can still play Mana Drain, but now you have more resources to try and trump them. You can untap and play Tangle Wires, Karns, etc.

Again, the main concern is going to be opportunity cost of the slot. Every slot in a Workshop player’s 75 is precious. That’s because about half of the mainboard is going to be mana, and half of the sideboard for the Dredge matchup. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for play or give. Each card has to carry its weight, and that’s where I have the most concerns about Shimmer Myr. Is it Vintage playable? Without question. Will it see play in the near future? I think it will be tried, but I’m just not sure it will be appearing in Top 8s near you. It could very well be, but I won’t be surprised if it isn’t.

(part 2 continues here)

Posted in Finance, Free, Free Insider, Strategy

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